Over the last week or so, I’ve been trying to pick an online lab service to get prints made from. The first place I tried was White House Custom Color. The offer five free 8 X 10’s so you can tree out their service risk free. I sent mine in last week and received my prints last Friday. I was a little disappointed, to be honest. Three out of the five prints were anywhere from quite a bit darker to just enough darker to be noticeable and three or four of them had slight but noticeable color shifts. (I have a colorimeter so I know my monitors are showing me the colors correctly.)
The next lab I tried was MPix. I sent them the same five prints with the exception that four of them I had printed full frame at 8 X 12. They don’t offer a free trial so this test was out of my pocket. I have to say, the results were obviously better. The color on all the prints were spot on. The one print that came back the darkest from WHCC also came back a little dark from MPix but not quite as much. I guess it’s just got something to do with that file. The others, however, looked as close to perfect as can reasonably be expected. MPix’s packaging was much sturdier as well. WHCC has a wider paper selection than MPix, but I’d rather have accurate color than a wide selection of products that don’t quite look like what I expected them to.
I was going to try Adorama’s photo printing service because I’ve bought almost all my photo gear from them, but they make you place separate orders if you want to print different pictures on different types of paper. Separate orders means separate shipping charges. If I was a pro sending in a bunch of wedding prints that were all going to come back the same way, that wouldn’t be a big deal. But at this stage in my photographic development, I’m likely to want to experiment with how different types of pictures look on different types of paper/substrate. I don’t want to have to pay $5 or $6 shipping for each type of paper I want to see a print on, ya know?